Fingers crossed

Just posting here as I find it hard to discuss with family and it may help those new to this. Have spent a Saturday morning in A&E after 72 hour spell of AF, the longest I have experienced. I was not getting too anxious as I am already on warfarin and the symptoms were manageable. All previous episodes have ended with my flipping back into NSR without intervention but I decided to get checked out, if only so they could capture AF pattern on ECG. I made a point of saying that I was not demanding AF to be treated then and there (unless that was what doctor felt needed to happen). ECG, chest x-Ray and blood tests done. Nothing identified for immediate concern (they thought maybe AF set off by a water infection, but none identified.) Now have an appointment for Cardiology clinic on Tuesday. Am posting this because it shows how differently I felt I could manage the situation compared to 9 years ago when paroxysmal AF was diagnosed and last year, when I was first prescribed warfarin instead of aspirin. Much of that is due to what I have learned from this forum. Although it is depressing to have to face up to the fact that my AF journey may be moving on a stage, I feel informed about what to expect and what the options are. I titled this 'fingers crossed' because I will soon have to take a leap of faith and pay the balance due for a very special holiday we plan to take in 4 months' time. I do have insurance, but having had to cancel a couple of previous holidays, I know how complicated this can get. I will certainly tell my insurers of the latest development, but I am holding back until I have more information and have been told whether my medication is going to need to be changed. (Apart from the aspirin/warfarin swap, I have been on the same medication since 2007 - Atenolol, Ramipril Simvastatin- so may be time for an upgrade). I was hoping this day would not come before we had been away, but I guess it would have been at the back of my mind anyway, so better just see what's what now. Not back in NSR yet, and still p**ing buckets, so although not scared, I will be glad when I am in NSR again!

16 Replies

  • Like your attitude. Well done.

  • I know how you feel.....we have just returned from a "special" holiday and like you, had to decide whether or not to risk paying a very large balance payment. Every one is different and AF is different for everyone, but you clearly have a positive attitude and a sensible view about travel insurance. Assuming you are going somewhere where medical help is available if needed, I would be tempted to take the plunge. So many people here have not let AF stop them from travelling and I too had AF in Portugal, fortunately it was controlled by medication and it did not spoil my time there. Not an easy decision I know, but no doubt you will raise it at appointment and be guided by what you are wishes, John

  • G'day PALady,

    You seem fairly philosophical about your AF, even a bit relaxed about it which I understand and it is most helpful to be like that. I'm assuming you are in UK and planning a special holiday somewhere exotic, that 'somewhere' hopefully will be a western industrialised nation where medical practices and standards are available and are at the same level as our own in UK. If so then I'd still be having a conversation with your insurers - assuming you have already declared your AF on previous holidays and be guided by their comments - preferably get something in writing if you can.

    I often go to Australia , Sydney and Melbourne, (from down here in Cornwall) and have no problems with my AF. I am on Warfarin and I have a Coaguchek XS INR testing device and that always goes with me so I can monitor my own INR levels. I have the advantage of previously living in Sydney so I know which hospitals I should go to if I get into trouble and always make sure I have current contact phone numbers and addresses. I always ensure that if I go away for a month or 6 weeks, for example, I take 2 months supply of medication. I keep all but a few days supply in my hold baggage and a few days in my cabin baggage plus copies of current prescriptions that I can produce at customs control if I need to.

    Just one take on meds - if you feel you need to go through a review of medication I wouldn't do this until you got back. Changes of medication in some of us can cause some reaction in terms of readjusting to types of medication and doses. If you need to do this, wait until you return.

    May the force be with you.


  • I could have written this. Very similar circs, although only had PAF for two years. I was in Spain in the summer when I felt unwell. I visited the local hospital in Torrevieja. Treatment was excellent and was never asked for insurance (although I have it), just produced EHIC card. I have a copy of my 'normal ECG', and copies of hospital letters which I showed to the doctor which he said was helpful. They reduced my Bisoprolol from 10 to 5mg. And told me no lying in the sun! Been fine since. I try not to be too anxious about it all. To this end I have been using an App called 'Calm'. Helps with breathing and relaxing. I have also cut out alcohol and spicy foods, seems to have helped. Enjoy your holiday and relax. Xx

  • Thinking of you. Am sure the holiday will be absolutely fine. Xxx

  • Hi I'm replying from Spain where we come twice a year for a month. Each time we come I've had AF episode lasting 2 to 3 days which has righted itself. Each time we get home I say never again. But I'm 69 & want us to enjoy stuff as long as poss. I'm here this time by skin of my teeth, really didn't want to risk it, but heyho. I'm still anxious each night & early morn which is when mine comes, but trust the Lord & my body & step out. Do the same if you have the faith & courage. It's day by day & hour by hour sometimes. Best wishes Pat

  • Best of luck to you, I hope you go back into NSR quickly and any changes are made with all good speed. You never know what life is going to throw at you, so you might as well go for it - I had had a nice 'mindfulness' workshop planned this weekend but my knee has gone from under me, so something from completely out of left field, and I couldn't go! Since none of us have a crystal ball, you might as well plan for the best and just deal with the stuff that comes along as it arrives...

  • @PALady Look at this This is international association for medical advice for travelers. It is free to join . they send you a membership card, with membership number and a booklet which contains a list of medical doctors (western trained USA and western Europe level)- the doctors are in all countries and many cities and included is the phone and address of each. It costs not more than $50 to see one at their office and to come to your hotel $150. These are the doctors used by people at various embassies and by those working all over the world for various large companies. The last time we used this those were the fees; could be a bit more now.

  • Thank you for this advice. I'll look into it.

  • You have such a calm attitude--how do you do this? Send some my way please.

  • Hello ccw 66

    If you met me and saw the state of my chewed fingernails you would perhaps not think me calm. I do try to focus on the things I can do something about. For example, when travelling I am very anxious about getting to the airport in time, but once on board a plane, I am OK because whether or not we get there safely is out of my hands.I am a 'what if' planner, so try to think ahead, but from a constructive angle. My day job is managing complaints in a local authority so a calm style helps. No idea what I would be like without the Atenolol though!

  • Think I need Atenolol the size of a Volkswagen. Consumed by anxiety and no wine or alcohol to ease. trying to power through with good books and Ativan. 😎😎😎

  • When you look back at a time when you have let your anxiety occupy you, did it actually affect the outcome? Could you have used that energy in a different way? Will worrying now make a difference? It sounds old hat, but I have taken up knitting again this year and have found it therapeutic. Completing small projects gives a sense that I can control something.

  • I paint and draw--helps a little. Good points re anxiety but try to tell that to my overactive mind with the what-ifs blasting away. 😖😖😖

  • I used to have to do risk assessments for civic events. I could always come up with the 'what ifs' Once you start to analyse them in terms of 'what is the worst that could happen and how likely it is, you can think about what you can do to prevent or mitigate the consequences.Identifying things you can actually do can reduce the anxiety as you are prepared. If the answer is that it will happen and it will be very bad and there is nothing you can do to stop it, you may as well stop worrying about it and start thinking about what you can do before and after.

  • Thank you to all for your support. I slipped quietly back into NSR at some point today, so I know this can still happen without medical intervention. This episode did not stop me spending a day in London, going to work, going swimming and enjoying a walk this morning. To my mind this means that it would not have affected me much if we had been on holiday. I think my current concerns are how much more it could add to my insurance premium. I find it perverse that if you take a responsible approach to a medical condition, seeking help if your symptoms suggest you should and taking your medication, you are almost penalised compared to those who ignore the signs, disregard medical advice and take needless risks. Am I really a worse risk than someone with undiagnosed AF who has brushed off their symptoms? My husband suffers from Meniere' s disease, which can render him incapable of doing anything but lying down for a day or two. He would be incapable of getting off the bed unaided. I duly declare it on the insurance application and so far, have not been charged any extra premium for him. Then I put my AF details in and,after working through the questions that pop up, I grit my teeth as the extra premium appears.

    I acknowledge that for many in this forum, AF is a major problem and I am grateful that so far, I can regard mine as a bit of a nuisance. As others have said, I have AF in my life, but it is not running my life (yet)

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